REGINA, Sask. — Since game 1, the Regina Pats and Red Deer Rebels series seemed destined to go the distance.
And after a lacklustre effort from the Rebels in game 6, a seventh and deciding game in the Eastern Conference semifinal will conclude a series that has been a battle for both teams.
The Pats came on fast and furious in game 6 on home ice Sunday, scoring four unanswered goals from the second period on to take it by a score of 5-1. The win evened the series at three games apiece.
Rebels GM/head coach Brent Sutter was disappointed with his teams effort in a game that could have ended the series. They’ll have one day to regroup before hitting the ice again.
“If game 7 doesn’t wake you up, I don’t know what does,” said Sutter. “It’s either you win and move on, or you don’t and you go home.”
In the win the Pats outshot 40-21, while the Rebels struggled to get shots on goal including long stretches without a shot on Pats goalie Tyler Brown.
“Our level of play wasn’t where it needs to be at playoff time,” said Sutter.
“Credit to (the Pats), they played with urgency. We played with no urgency. It’s not the way you have to play in the playoffs, especially when you get into game 6.
“We were on our heels a lot, we didn’t play with any assertiveness.”
Neither team has won on the road this series, and fortunately for Red Deer game 7 will be on home ice.
After exchanging goals in the first period, it didn’t take long for the Pats to retake the lead. Just 24 seconds into the second period, Connor Hobbs fired a sneaky wrist shot that fooled Rylan Toth. The goal gave the Pats a 2-1 lead.
DeBrusk scored the lone Rebels goal less than seven minutes into the first period. He broke in with the puck on Brown on a 2-on-1 rush. He took the initial shot, which brown stopped. The first-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins never gave up on the puck and scored on the rebound.
Toth stopped 34 shots in just his second start since Feb. 17, when he went out with a lower body injury.
For the Pats, Hobbs had a goal and an assist and Sam Steel had two assists to lead the team.
Game 7 is scheduled for Tuesday at the Centrium. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Notes; Colton Bobyk returned to the lineup after serving a two game suspension.